New Vinyl - again

The Strat

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I've given up buying new vinyl because frankly you take pot luck and so many new pressings sound dull and lifeless compared with many of my records that are 40 years old.

But in a conversation earlier this week someone said it's because they use recycled stuff these days. True?

 

meninblack

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I very much doubt it, and even if they do, that isn't the reason. Poor mastering is the reason. If you cut the vinyl from the same crap, compressed master used for the CD and mp3 versions, it will sound crap and compressed.

Not always the case - recent vinyl from Laura Marling and The National sounds excellent.

 

browellm

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I've given up buying new vinyl because frankly you take pot luck and so many new pressings sound dull and lifeless compared with many of my records that are 40 years old.But in a conversation earlier this week someone said it's because they use recycled stuff these days. True?
Lindsay, why are you comparing with presumably different recordings from 40 years ago?

You either want the record or you don't, and if you do you're comparing it against the CD of the same music. IME, new vinyl pressings are far far superior to the CD in nearly every case. It was the sole reason I bought a turntable.

 

tones

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I very much doubt it, and even if they do, that isn't the reason. Poor mastering is the reason. If you cut the vinyl from the same crap, compressed master used for the CD and mp3 versions, it will sound crap and compressed.
Agreed. PVA is PVA is PVA.

 

The Strat

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That's a fair point Mark but just put a 180grm pressing of Traffic From Paradise by Ricki Lee Jones and it's dull, compressed etc compared with the CD. Whereas the original pressing of her debut from 1979 is superb.

 

bandit pilot

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Lindsay, why are you comparing with presumably different recordings from 40 years ago?You either want the record or you don't, and if you do you're comparing it against the CD of the same music. IME, new vinyl pressings are far far superior to the CD in nearly every case. It was the sole reason I bought a turntable.
Much as it pains me, I have to agree. It only pains me because I sold a massive vinyl collection, replaced it with a massive cd collection, and now I'm buying vinyl again. Needless to say it's an expensive experiment! and addictive!

 

browellm

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I have Traffic From Paradise on CD, it is indeed a decent recording but that's 20 years old.

When you said new vinyl, I thought you meant something from this year :D

 

meninblack

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My brother used to work in a plastics company, that made vinyl record compound. Back in the 70s and 80s they used to grind up loads of "scrap" vinyl (typically when optimistic lables had pressed far too many copies of something) and recycle into compound for new records. So it is the older vinyl which is likely to have a lot of recycled material.

There are some shit modern re-masters about.

 

meninblack

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When you said new vinyl, I thought you meant something from this year :D
You are forgetting, Mark: music finished in 1973. Just rubbish since then. :D

 

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JMO....but I find so many differeces in opinions of these all pressings. Some like 1st run original pressings, MFSL pressings, Half speed master pressings, master sound pressings, sacd cds, 24 kt cd mater pressings, 45 rpm lp pressings, Nautilus pressings and the list goes on and on. Now that there are 180gr, 200 gr pressings Its just like beauty not the eye but only in the ear and minds eye as to what the sound should be. I have had audiophile pressings that sound like cats in a washing machine, but have the same album in a regular store bought copy lp or cd and it sounds incredible! To each there own. As a final thought, guitarist Eric Johnson claims he can tell the difference in alkaline and regular batteries in his effects pedals.....I never could tho'. And this story of Eric Clapton. A guitar and amp tech finds out Eric Clapton in going to do a guest apperance on a show he was working and all he had for Clapton to play was a plain old American Strat and a smaller fender solid state champ amp to play through. but the amp would be mic'ed and he though that might help. So Clapton put on the Strat adjust the vol. and tone knobs....walks over plugs into the amp, adjust the knobs there and OMG he sounded like.......wait for it.....CLAPTON. Again I still think some sounds are just what we want to here...no matter the pressing. JMO:stereo:

 

The Strat

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Chaps - I'm inclined towards John (MIB) point about mastering. Ry Cooder's Pull Up Some Dirt - 2011 I think - isn't very good at all.

 

greengoblin

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Have to say a lot of new musical are coming out on 180g vinyls and CDs. Te sound quality of the vinyls are mostly great, but the vinyls themselves can be a bit variable...slightly tight hole, rough edge, slight warp. Doesn't affect enjoyment though

 

harmonica98

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That's a fair point Mark but just put a 180grm pressing of Traffic From Paradise by Ricki Lee Jones and it's dull, compressed etc compared with the CD. Whereas the original pressing of her debut from 1979 is superb.
Which label is that on? If it's the current Analogue Productions issue then I am very surprised. New vinyl is of quite variable quality. Some labels are always to be avoided (Vinyl Lovers, Plain Recordings come to mind), some are fantastic (most things on Sony Legacy for example), but as noted above mastering is key. I'd always recommend doing some research on the Web before purchasing a reissue.

 

f1eng

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Having bought records since the mid 60s variability in pressing quality has -always- been a problem.

Pretty well all (probably absolutely all) vinyl has been compressed to avoid high level distortion, mistracking or cutter problems. The only thing that has changed has been the amount of compression.

CDs don't -need- to be compressed at all but a full dynamic range recording is way more than most home hifis could cope with so it usually is to a certain extent.

The recent fashion for extreme compression is just that, a recent fashion. It helps a lot in cars and using a portable in a noisy background, and apparently the majority of listeners prefer it even though hifi enthusiasts don't :-(

Having CDs more compressed than LPs is bizarre in the extreme but there we are!

In the end by far the biggest difference in sound quality is the mastering/mixing. It is most unlikely that the mix used for a CD is the same as the mix used for the LP from the same master for a number of straightforward technical reasons. Sometimes the master is crap. Sometimes the mix used for the CD is crap and sometimes the mix used for the LP is crap.

Whilst this compression on CD continues to be in fashion, and it could be forever given its popularity with so many customers, the LP should probably be nicer for home listening, but there have -always- been problems with pressing variability which we have to live with, back in the day when I bought an LP a week (for 30 bob) I probably had to take a defective one back for replacement every month or two.

 

browellm

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Having bought records since the mid 60s variability in pressing quality has -always- been a problem.Pretty well all (probably absolutely all) vinyl has been compressed to avoid high level distortion, mistracking or cutter problems. The only thing that has changed has been the amount of compression.

CDs don't -need- to be compressed at all but a full dynamic range recording is way more than most home hifis could cope with so it usually is to a certain extent.

The recent fashion for extreme compression is just that, a recent fashion. It helps a lot in cars and using a portable in a noisy background, and apparently the majority of listeners prefer it even though hifi enthusiasts don't :-(

Having CDs more compressed than LPs is bizarre in the extreme but there we are!

In the end by far the biggest difference in sound quality is the mastering/mixing. It is most unlikely that the mix used for a CD is the same as the mix used for the LP from the same master for a number of straightforward technical reasons. Sometimes the master is crap. Sometimes the mix used for the CD is crap and sometimes the mix used for the LP is crap.

Whilst this compression on CD continues to be in fashion, and it could be forever given its popularity with so many customers, the LP should probably be nicer for home listening, but there have -always- been problems with pressing variability which we have to live with, back in the day when I bought an LP a week (for 30 bob) I probably had to take a defective one back for replacement every month or two.
Not sure I agree with all of this is, although there are some good points.

My understanding is that for most modern mainstream releases, both the CD and LP have a common digital master. And thinking about it, why wouldn't it be given the costs involved?

Only in post-production are compression levels set for each medium. For CD everyhting is up to 11, just because. For LP, because of the physical limitations of the cutting heads, a more sympathetic approach is taken to compression, which in turn gives greater dynamic range to the programme material.

The exception to this is CD classical releases which aren't under the same commercial pressure to squash dynamics. They have Classic FM to do it for them ;-)

 

f1eng

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Not sure I agree with all of this is, although there are some good points.My understanding is that for most modern mainstream releases, both the CD and LP have a common digital master. And thinking about it, why wouldn't it be given the costs involved?

Only in post-production are compression levels set for each medium. For CD everyhting is up to 11, just because. For LP, because of the physical limitations of the cutting heads, a more sympathetic approach is taken to compression, which in turn gives greater dynamic range to the programme material.

The exception to this is CD classical releases which aren't under the same commercial pressure to squash dynamics. They have Classic FM to do it for them ;-)
Yes true, I wrote even if they use the same master, but of course it will always be the same master! I find it totally depressing that uncompressed CD could probably contain the unadulterated master, and I think some early CDs did so, though I would imagine most domestic hifis couldn't handle it. It -is- profoundly depressing that most customers, and many (most??) performers judging by the recording engineer comment one picks up prefer compression since louder is betterer!

We are unlikely to ever have LPs and CDs from the same master which sound the same since the mix requirements are different but what an irony that the medium with the higher dynamic range potential is the one likely to be released with the lower dynamic range.

Duh!

Edit: it isn't "because" of cutter head limitations that LPs have less compression, it is despite. LPs have a limited dynamic range, by noise at the low end and cutter/cartridge limitations at the high end. All LPs are compressed to fit comfortably between these limits. They have to be.

CDs don't -need- to be compressed since the dynamic range of pretty well any music recording can be recorded to CD with no compression at all, though few if any domestic hifi systems would be able to reproduce them then.

 

f1eng

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The exception to this is CD classical releases which aren't under the same commercial pressure to squash dynamics. They have Classic FM to do it for them ;-)
Absolutely, and this is a sobering thought! Reflection on how dire classic FM sounds with its compression makes me realise what we are really missing in pop music in recent times.

 

oldius

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I had a listen to Laura Marling last night having heard a single track from her latest album on the radio. I checked out the vinyl release last night and it's £25 plus postage; it's this that we need to be on our high horse about in addition to some of the quality issues.

 

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